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Office 2007 Bible by Lisa A. Bucki, Gavin Powell, Michael R. Irwin, Peter G. Aitken, Michael R. Groh, Cary N. Prague, Faithe Wempen, Herb Tyson, John Walkenbach

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The Database Terminology of Access

Before examining the actual table examples in this section, it’s a good idea to have a firm understanding of the terminology that is used when working with databases—especially Access databases. Microsoft Access follows traditional database terminology. The terms database, table, record, field, and value indicate a hierarchy from largest to smallest.

Databases

Generally, the word database is a computer term for a collection of information concerning a certain topic or business application. Databases help you organize this related information in a logical fashion for easy access and retrieval.

Databases aren’t only for computers. There are also manual databases; we simply refer to these as manual filing systems or manual database systems. These filing systems usually consist of people’s names, papers, folders, and filing cabinets—paper is the key to a manual database system. In a real manual database system, you probably have in/out baskets and some type of formal filing method. You access information manually by opening a file cabinet, taking out a file folder, and finding the correct piece of paper. You use paper forms for input, perhaps by using a typewriter. You find information by manually sorting the papers or by copying information from many papers to another piece of paper (or even into an Excel spreadsheet). You may use a spreadsheet or calculator to analyze the data or display it in new and interesting ways.

An Access database is nothing ...

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